Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ASLRRA's Timmons: One more year

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association President Richard F. Timmons—known in the industry as “The General”—has agreed to lead his small-road troops for another year.

Although Timmons, a former U.S. Army Lieutenant General, had previously announced his intention to retire at the end of this year, the ASLRRA Board of Directors requested that he extend his tenure, and he has agreed to do so. The Board on Wednesday, July 17, approved the extension of Timmons’ contract through Dec. 31, 2014.

“The short line industry is facing some tough challenges and some real opportunities in the coming 16 months,” said ASLRRA Chairman Ed McKechnie. “The short line tax credit expires at the end of 2013, and we must work to keep that provision in law. The U.S Department of Transportation is in the midst of a two-year study on truck size and weight, and the proponents of bigger trucks are already hard at work on new legislation allowing bigger trucks. We are working closely with our Class I partners to delay the unfunded PTC mandate. As an association we are undertaking a comprehensive review of rail safety issues with the goal of making the short line industry the safest in the world.

“Rich Timmons has been at the forefront of all of these issues. His knowledge of our industry and his relationships with public officials and Class I railroads are an invaluable asset to ASLRRA. At this critical juncture we have asked him to stay on as our president and he has agreed. We thank him for his past service and look forward to his leadership during this most important period.”

Prior to joining ASLRRA, Timmons was employed with Norfolk Southern as the chief political liaison to the states of Pennsylvania and New York, representing the railroad’s interests in legislative and regulatory policy. In addition, he served for 32 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a Lieutenant General. His career included a range of operational, political and staff assignments, including Commander of the Eighth Army in Korea, Chief of Staff of the United Nations Command in Korea, Commander 7th Infantry Division, Executive Officer to the Secretary of the Army, and Army liaison officer to the U.S. Senate. Timmons is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and holds a Bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia Military Institute, a Master’s in personnel administration from Central Michigan University, and a Master’s in journalism from the University of Alabama. Timmons was named 2006 Railroader of the Year by Railway Age.

Uncertainty over ASLRRA’s succession plan surfaced even before the organization’s 100th anniversary meeting in Atlanta last April had adjourned, with several ASLRRA members expressing concern over Timmons’ anticipated departure.